Maryland State Department of Education

MSDE Bulletin

Keeping You Current on Education Reform in Maryland

September 18, 2000 Vol. 11, No. 11

Full-Day Kindergarten a State Board Priority

The Maryland State Board of Education has voted to make full-day kindergarten one of its budget request priorities in the upcoming year. If the plan to phase in the program over three years is approved by Governor Parris N. Glendening and the Maryland General Assembly, Maryland would become the fifth state (plus the District of Columbia) to implement full-day kindergarten.
Although approximately 97 percent of each year's state school budget is mandated by funding formulas, the remainder is driven by priorities set by the Board. At its August meeting the Board voted to include approximately $20 million among its $133 million in unfunded requests for FY2002 for the first year of the kindergarten program. Starting with the 2001-02 school year, the plan would require approximately $65 million total over the program's first three years. The goal is to establish full-day kindergarten in all state public elementary schools by the 2003-04 school year.
"Just a few years ago, we did not have the overwhelming research that we have today that tells us the importance of early childhood learning," said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. "Statewide full-day kindergarten carries some expense, but it is one of the best investments we can make toward the education of future generations of Maryland children."
In the 1999-2000 school year, 248 of Maryland's approximately 820 elementary schools offered some form of full-day kindergarten, although many of the schools offered full-day programs only for a limited number of their kindergarten classes.
Full-day programs were available in selected schools in 21 of Maryland's 24 school systems. In the 2000-01 school year, Prince George's County joined Allegany, Caroline, and Garrett as the only Maryland counties with full-day kindergarten programs at each of their elementary schools.
Arkansas, Florida, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia are the only jurisdictions currently with full-day kindergarten programs for all children.

Benzil, Maultsby Elected Board Officers

Philip S. Benzil was elected president of the Maryland State Board of Education and Marilyn Maultsby was named vice president by unanimous votes of the Board at its August meeting.
Benzil replaces Walter Sondheim, who served a one-month term after former president Edward Andrews' term expired on June 30. Sondheim agreed to serve temporarily as the Board members needed additional time to choose a president.
"I think it is notable that I am the first president of this board, at least in my memory, from a small county," said Dr. Benzil . "Because I am retired, I am able-if my grandchildren allow it-to give my full time and effort to this Board."
Dr. Benzil, a retired dentist from Westminster, served 15 years on the Carroll County Board of Education, including three terms as its president.
Maultsby is Executive Director of The Maryland Health Care Foundation, a non-profit organization providing access to health insurance.
"Thank you for your confidence in me," Ms. Maultsby said to her fellow Board members. "We have many challenges ahead."

Library Grant Targets New Media Specialists
The State Department of Education will partner with the University of Maryland-College Park and Prince George's County to recruit and train school library media specialists through a $246,994 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The grant will establish Professional Development Schools in two high schools. Library media specialist candidates from the university will work with master teachers and veteran library media specialists to develop and implement lessons in a variety of content areas.

Nutrition Programs Boost Education

Federal Funds, USDA
Help Care Providers
Federal funds are available to help child and adult day care providers in Maryland serve nutritious, healthy meals to children and adults in their care. For some facilities, foods donated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are also available.
"Under the USDA-sponsored Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), providers throughout Maryland can receive cash reimbursement for meals," said Sheila G. Terry, Branch Chief of Nutrition and Transportation Services for the Maryland State Department of Education.
The program, which started in 1968, provided reimbursement for nearly 30 million meals and snacks served to Maryland residents in fiscal year 1999.
Children at child care centers participating in the CACFP receive meals at no charge. Centers may be reimbursed for up to three meals/snacks per day.
"Family members who leave children and adults in day care depend on providers to put nutritious, healthy meals on the table," Terry said. "Through this program's meal reimbursement, we can help them do just that."
Child or adult day care centers, day care home providers, parents or caregivers for adults enrolled in day care who want more information concerning CACFP or facilities that currently participate should call 410-767-0207.

Meals for Achievement Expands Across Maryland
An innovative school improvement program offering free breakfast to all students in their classrooms has been expanded this year to include students at 49 schools across the state.
The Maryland Meals for Achievement breakfast pilot program was offered in 11 schools during the 1999-2000 school year and resulted in findings that suggest classroom breakfast can play a role in improving students' grades and attendance.
A kickoff to celebrate the expansion was held September 13 at Charlesmont Elementary School in Baltimore County. Shirley R. Watkins, Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Maryland Deputy State Superintendent Richard Steinke; and Assistant State Superintendent Tina Bjarekull joined Principal Marsha Ayres and Charlesmont students for breakfast.
Maryland Meals for Achievement expanded to 49 schools this year after the approval of $964,000 by the General Assembly. That action followed reports by Harvard University researchers that the program improves academic performance, behavior and well-being.
Charlesmont Elementary is located at 7800 West Collingham Drive, Dundalk. Approximately 435 students pre-kindergarten through grade five attend the school.

Carson Keynote Speaker At Woman's Journey 2000
Noted Johns Hopkins surgeon Ben Carson will be the keynote speaker at the sixth annual Johns Hopkins Medicine women's health symposium "A Woman's Journey 2000" to be held at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore on Saturday, November 11.
The conference will feature more than 44 seminars. Registration is $50 per person, with a discount for groups. More information is available by calling (410) 955-8660.

Principals Report Adopted for Action
The Maryland State Board of Education has moved to address the shortage of qualified prospective administrators for public schools by adopting a plan to implement recommendations made by a task force studying the situation.
More than two-thirds of the state's middle and high school principals are eligible to retire within five years. State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick appointed the task force to assess the shortage and to recommend actions for state and local school systems.
"The school administrator today is an important instructional leader and plays a major role in our school reform efforts," said Dr. Grasmick. "We must address the demands of these positions and the reasons increasing numbers of educators choose not to seek these positions."
The plan calls for the funding of up to five local school system initiatives directed at defining the role of the principal as instructional leader. Local systems will be asked to submit their requests by mid-October.
A workgroup will be established to study "clearing the plate" of extraneous responsibilities that principals now have. The group will make recommendations to help ensure principals have time to fulfill their roles as instructional leaders. The workgroup will report to the State Superintendent by December. A second workgroup will be formed to study salary, benefits, perquisites, incentives and accountability.
The plan also calls for the Principal's Institute to be continued with a focus on veteran principals. The Principals' Academies, which existed until 1990, will be revived to assist with staff development efforts for new or aspiring principals.
Another recommendation supports mentorship programs for first- and second-year principals.

MSDE Bulletin
School & Community Outreach Office
Maryland State Department of Education
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Web site:

Ronald Peiffer
Assistant State Superintendent

Neil Greenberger